Generic Name: afatinib (a FAT i nib)
Brand Name: Gilotrif
Medically reviewed: November 13, 2017
What is afatinib?
Afatinib is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Afatinib is used to treat a certain type of non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Afatinib is used for this condition only if your tumor has a specific genetic marker for which your doctor will test.
Afatinib is also used to treat squamous non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body after other cancer medicine has been tried without successful treatment.
Afatinib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use afatinib if you are allergic to it.
To make sure afatinib is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
breathing problems or lung disease other than cancer; or
vision problems, very dry eyes, or if you wear contact lenses.
Afatinib may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 2 weeks after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.
It is not known whether afatinib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not not breast-feed while using this medicine and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
How should I take afatinib?
Before you start treatment, your doctor may perform tests to make sure afatinib is the best treatment for your type of lung cancer.
Afatinib is usually taken once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take afatinib on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
Your doctor may recommend you have an anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide (Imodium) available at all times while you are taking afatinib. Take the anti-diarrhea medicine as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Call your doctor if you are sick with severe diarrhea, or diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days. You may need to stop taking afatinib for a short time.
While using afatinib, you may need frequent blood tests.
Store the tablets in their original container at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Throw away any afatinib tablets not used before the expiration date on the medicine label.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 12 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking afatinib?
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Afatinib can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Afatinib side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using afatinib and call your doctor at once if you have:
new or worsening cough, fever, or trouble breathing;
severe or ongoing diarrhea (lasting 2 days or longer);
severe skin reaction that causes blistering and peeling;
blisters or ulcers in your mouth, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing;
liver problems--stomach pain (upper right side), easy bruising or bleeding, feeling tired, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
heart problems--pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling in your legs or ankles, rapid weight gain.
Common side effects may include:
mild diarrhea for 1 day or less;
redness, pain, swelling, or other signs of infection around your fingernails or toenails.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect afatinib?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Other drugs may interact with afatinib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about Gilotrif (afatinib)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
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- Drug class: multikinase inhibitors